Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, just north of Half Moon Bay, is a popular low-tide destination. The receding sea reveals rocky reefs the length of a football field, offering a beachside glimpse into an underwater world. Residents include a rich variety of marine life such as sea stars, crabs, sponges, sea anemones, and mollusks. Kids abound, too, getting up close and (sometimes a little too) personal with sea creatures—touching is encouraged, but don’t let the crabs pinch! Winter (and spring) are the best times to visit: the big minus tides arrive and the resident harbor seals, of which there are more than 100, are pupping. Even Gatsby would be rapt.
TIP: Keep an eye out for informative volunteers wearing green shirts; they’re part of the Friends of the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve and have been active in maintaining and educating people about this strip of coast for more than 20 years.
The reserve is open during daylight hours. Visit the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve Web site for directions. It’s best to visit one hour before or after the low tide. For information on more upcoming low tides, check the NOAA Web site. Dogs and groups of 10 or more are not allowed.